The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway: Inside the Elizabeth Line, review: a dull journey

Some people found the opening of the Elizabeth Line terribly exciting. Hundreds queued for hours to be the first passengers to board this Crossrail service. One of them was a “transport YouTuber” who had flown in from Toronto. A man appeared in a waistcoat made of purple Elizabeth Line seat fabric; Together with the cost of the sewing machine he bought extra, he had spent £2,000.

If you live elsewhere in the country, you probably couldn’t give a damn. But BBC Two has been following and producing the project for 10 years The Fifteen Billion Pound Railwaywhich has now reached its final series.

Crossrail is an impressive feat of engineering that includes the construction of a new tunnel under the River Thames and nine new stations – described here as “an enormous architectural challenge”. But this fascinating work has been explored in previous seasons. We have now reached the stage of stuck issues and software glitches.

Admittedly, the latter are quite significant. Alarm bells ring when we learn that the new service will depend on “the world’s most complex train computer software” to control trains, tracks and platform screen doors. “The new Elizabeth Line trains must be able to operate seamlessly between three signaling systems,” the program explained. “Passenger safety depends on a smooth nanosecond transition between everyone. This has never been attempted on any other railway anywhere in the world.” Uh-oh.

Crossrail CEO Mark Wild – soft as hell – said at one point: “It’s fair to say we’ve probably gone too far with digitization. We probably built computer controls into things that might not have been as necessary.” An interesting view, but Wild was not invited to elaborate.

The software failed during a test run. Elsewhere there were defective doors, something leaking, a problem with the automatic reverse. A lot of work went into this project, but the program boiled it down to another boring look at what’s going a little wrong behind the scenes. They added ominous music hoping to add some Apollo 13-level drama to the control room, but the highlight was someone saying, “We have four trains waiting to go to Stratford.” And that you hear every day on the London underground.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/tv/0/fifteen-billion-pound-railway-inside-elizabeth-line-review-dull/ The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway: Inside the Elizabeth Line, review: a dull journey


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